27 April 2016

Ted Cruz brings on Carly Fiorina in a last-ditch attempt at a miracle


A cult favorite from the late 80s, The Princess Bride, is one of Ted Cruz’s favorite movies. And so, it’s perhaps fitting to quote from the film about the Texas Senator’s decision to choose California  businesswoman Carly Fiorina as his running mate, as he did the day after losing five major primaries on Tuesday

In this scene, Miracle Max and his wife work together to bring back from the dead the main character, Wesley, so that Wesley can in turn take on the film’s villain, Prince Humperdink. Humperdink is a rich, bellicose maniac, unkind and uncouth to everyone around him. He might seem familiar to those who follow American politics (hint: Donald Trump).  At the end of the scene, when Wesley has been successfully resurrected from the dead and departs to the castle to take on Humperdink, Max’s wife Valerie asks him “Think it’ll work?” Max, a maker of miracles by trade, answers “It’ll take a miracle.” He then shouts to Wesley and his crew “Good luck storming the castle!”

Cruz’s decision to bring Fiorina on is sound on several fronts. During the earliest Republican debates, it was only Fiorina who was able to hit Donald Trump with his own words and get under the celebrity politician’s skin. Unlike every other candidate on stage, Fiorina took Trump seriously and used his own words and actions against him. Because Fiorina is a strong, intelligent and capable woman, she poses a threat to Trump, whose misogyny is well-documented. The majority of Trump’s missteps in the early days of his campaign, when most still considered his candidacy a show, was because Fiorina had been able to push Trump’s buttons. Considering Fiorina’s home state of California is, along with Indiana, Cruz’s last shot at the nomination, she could give the conservative Texan Senator a boost there as well.

Unfortunately for Ted Cruz, with Trump’s victories last night, the momentum is all but irreversible at this point. The last hope Cruz had before last night was the possibility of a contested convention, but given the delegate count where it is currently, even that scenario is increasingly unlikely.

While we may see American politics play out on screen with frequency, it’s not like the movies. Republicans have no Miracle Max who can resurrect candidacies from the dead, nor can it conjure other miracles in the face of the cold hard mathematical likelihood of a Trump nomination at this point.  

While Cruz might be able to quote the movie by heart, that is where comparisons between the candidate and Wesley end. As a conservative who has, and will continue to, fall in the Never Trump camp, I say this to Ted Cruz: “Good luck storming the castle.”

But it will truly take a miracle to take down Prince Humper-uh-Donald Trump this late in the game.

Bethany Mandel writes on politics and culture.